So, do you think Leon or Shawna would bring a few east their next trip?
don’t hold your breath
they look exciting as hell, and gorgeous, but i’m sceptical that they will ever be mass produced or find a mkt this side of the pond. it’s a crowded field and i just can’t see it being worth it for them. i’d love to hear differently from someone more in the know…
I am not sure here …
Aled Williams specifically left rockpool kayaks because he thought the market abroad existed and was worth it (and wanted to take rockpool there but could not due to disagreements with his partner). Further, he wanted the company to grow and not be a small production shop.
The U.S market is getting bigger. More WW folks are getting in this form of sea kayaking and are promoting it. It maybe slow growing but its still growing.
Word from Aled
It was Aled Williams who sent me word of the North American dealers. He has been working hard on securing American distribution for Tide Race.
He also informed me a few weeks ago that the plug for the Excite S had gone out to Plastex http://www.plastex.home.pl/ and that model would be in production in January.
My sense is that he plans to have at least 4 models in production for next season and be shipping them to the US.
Seriously - the outfit that is manufacturing them is supposed to be able to manage it better than the folks who were doing the Rockpool boats per what Aled said in his email to Jim.
As to interest - the Excite S looks like a great idea for average sized women paddlers who want something that’ll both track and play in rocks decently, has a deck and volume that can handle rescue of a decent-sized guy and should still have enough hull speed to make it manageable to stay with a group. Right now I don’t see a lot of boats available in this country of the right volume for my size which will do all of that. The Capella 161, I’m not sure what else. (I’ve already had the Vela in a rescue situation, and we literally needed a bigger boat.) It’d be awfully nice to have more choice.
the regular xcite
looks pretty slick, would like to paddle that.
Interesting website - strippers
Interesting that the website shows strippers for many models, I guess models not completed yet. The fact that they use strippers to get started is good, which means they have a boat to try before they make the mold. Believe it or not, most manufacturers have no prototypes or trial boats before the final mold is made. If it’s not quite perfect, the drop down skeg to the rescue.
RE: holding ones breath
Well, P&H’s current promise time might be opening opportunity for other manufacturers.
I was told last night by a local P&H dealer that promise time for P&H boats ordered now is 2009!
you got all that from the pictures
or the text?
Indicative of commitment and experience?
I noticed the strippers on the site and assumed it was a normal step in a kayak design process.
As Jay notes this is a rarity, I wonder if it is particularly indicative of Aled Williams' commitment to good/refined design?
The one kink in Aled’s plan is the Pond itself. Distrubution with the Pond involved is troublesome and untimely. He needs to move himself and his manufacturing to North America, while keeping a satelite base in the UK.
What are prototypes used for?
I don’t have the knowledge of the boat industry of Jay, but I have to wonder about how “prototypes” are used. For example, there was a “prototype” Cetus in the US, but other than some deck /cockpit items that were not finalized, you have to wonder whether feedback really resulted or could have resulted in any meaningful design changes. Same with the Avocet LV which had a prototype in country for awhile and two women have told me the cockpit on the production boats is just too large, but I suspect you can never please everyone on that. It did seem wider that a regular Avocet though. I did hear a story that Impex originally had planned on two versions of the Force, but various test paddlers came back and told them that they needed one in the middle to make a Force just right for medium sized folks and so the Force 4 was built, but not sure any of that resulted in hull design changes.
Track record and other
Aled Williams did the Rockpool boats, which tho' they never arrived on this continent did get hard used and so there is a track record on them. The were intended to be a good balance of tracking and manuverability, and all the reports came back that they performed as expected. Williams also did the Romany, so there is little question that he understands manuverability and how to get a boat that will perform well for a range of paddlers.
The TideRace boats, per conversation with Jim who has been in direct contact with Wiiliams, are a refinement of the Rockpool designs. I probably am responding mostly to that and adding the text on the website.
Obviously this could be wrong, but the history here is pretty meaty.
I’m more interested in the xplore_x
what’s the scoop on that?
Not everyone can afford to CNC a plug!
Short of that, what other options are there besided stripping and shaping foam?
Given the size of most kayak making outfits, I can’t really beleive this is all that rare of a practice. How may have access to large 3D CNC systems, and can afford the service? Even the stable materials best suited to the task are pricey.
Ideally, I’d want to design in 3D (really just visualize in 3D - as design’s always based on things outside the computer) - then do strip or foam prototype(s) for eval/testing/tweaks - then incorporate the lessons learned back into the 3D file - optimizing for fairness/symmetry better than the physical prototypes can offer - and allow a lot of analysis (stress analysis, etc.) add final details - and CNC a plug to make mold(s) from (composite or roto).
Sounds like fun. Anyone want to front me some serious cash? Didn’t think so.
Guess if I ever want to go down this road it will be with hand built prototypes/plugs/molds. Nothing wrong with that, nothing magical either.
Do you know what the US price is going to be?
I have not had any exchange regarding price of the Tide Race boats in the US.
I would guess that they would be comparably priced to other Brit composite boats. I believe the current list price for a standard Valley sea kayak in the USA is $3249. P&H and NDK (Sea Kayaking UK) boats tend to be very close to Valley’s pricing. I am assuming that Tide Race will be in the same ballpark.
I haven't paid as much attention to that one because it seems to be more of an all-around boat similar in function to my LV - tilted towards an expedition boat with some nice handling and responsiveness - and I am looking to fill slightly different niche with a next long boat. But best to see what the site says rather than trust me.
This type of sea kayak manufacture is not mass production by most definitions.
A year or two ago, Nigel Dennis told the BBC that he ships about 300 boats to North America a year. Last year, Peter Orton said (here I believe) that Valley ships about that same number of composite boats. Valley's higher total number of boats shipped is made up of the RM boats.
I don't know P&H's numbers, but I am sure they are not huge.
Comparing these numbers to those for any serious manufacturer of ww or rec boats provides a sense of proportion:
"I read in Outdoor Magazine's interview of EJ that Jackson Kayaks sold approx 3500 boats last year, which made it the top selling ww brand last year..."
or wait till the boat actually comes out